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Creating packages for OS X


This guide describes multiple ways for packaging Kivy applications. Packaging with PyInstaller is recommended for general use.

Using PyInstaller and Homebrew


Package your app on the oldest OS X version you want to support.

Complete guide

  1. Install Homebrew

  2. Install Python:

    $ brew install python


    To use Python 3, brew install python3 and replace pip with pip3 in the guide below.

  3. (Re)install your dependencies with --build-bottle to make sure they can be used on other machines:

    $ brew reinstall --build-bottle sdl2 sdl2_image sdl2_ttf sdl2_mixer


    If your project depends on GStreamer or other additional libraries (re)install them with --build-bottle as described below.

  4. Install Cython and Kivy:

    $ pip install -I Cython==0.23
    $ USE_OSX_FRAMEWORKS=0 pip install -U kivy
  5. Install PyInstaller:

    $ pip install -U pyinstaller
  6. Package your app using the path to your main.py:

    $ pyinstaller -y --clean --windowed --name touchtracer \
      --exclude-module _tkinter \
      --exclude-module Tkinter \
      --exclude-module enchant \
      --exclude-module twisted \


    This will not yet copy additional image or sound files. You would need to adapt the created .spec file for that.

Editing the spec file

The specs file is named touchtracer.spec and is located in the directory where you ran the pyinstaller command.

You need to change the COLLECT() call to add the data of touchtracer (touchtracer.kv, particle.png, …). Change the line to add a Tree() object. This Tree will search and add every file found in the touchtracer directory to your final package. Your COLLECT section should look something like this:

coll = COLLECT(exe, Tree('/usr/local/share/kivy-examples/demo/touchtracer/'),

This will add the required hooks so that PyInstaller gets the required Kivy files. We are done. Your spec is ready to be executed.

Build the spec and create a DMG

  1. Open a console.

  2. Go to the PyInstaller directory, and build the spec:

    $ pyinstaller -y --clean --windowed touchtracer.spec
  3. Run:

    $ pushd dist
    $ hdiutil create ./Touchtracer.dmg -srcfolder touchtracer.app -ov
    $ popd
  4. You will now have a Touchtracer.dmg available in the dist directory.

Additional Libraries


If your project depends on GStreamer:

$ brew reinstall --build-bottle gstreamer gst-plugins-{base,good,bad,ugly}


If your Project needs Ogg Vorbis support be sure to add the --with-libvorbis option to the command above.

If you are using Python from Homebrew you will also need the following step until this pull request gets merged:

$ brew reinstall --with-python --build-bottle https://github.com/cbenhagen/homebrew/raw/patch-3/Library/Formula/gst-python.rb

Using PyInstaller without Homebrew

First install Kivy and its dependencies without using Homebrew as mentioned here http://kivy.org/docs/installation/installation.html#development-version.

Once you have kivy and its deps installed, you need to install PyInstaller.

Let’s assume we use a folder like testpackaging:

cd testpackaging
git clone http://github.com/pyinstaller/pyinstaller

Create a file named touchtracer.spec in this directory and add the following code to it:

# -*- mode: python -*-

block_cipher = None
from kivy.tools.packaging.pyinstaller_hooks import get_deps_all, hookspath, runtime_hooks

a = Analysis(['/path/to/yout/folder/containing/examples/demo/touchtracer/main.py'],
pyz = PYZ(a.pure, a.zipped_data,
exe = EXE(pyz,
          console=False )
coll = COLLECT(exe, Tree('../kivy/examples/demo/touchtracer/'),
app = BUNDLE(coll,

Change the paths with your relevant paths:

a = Analysis(['/path/to/yout/folder/containing/examples/demo/touchtracer/main.py'],
coll = COLLECT(exe, Tree('../kivy/examples/demo/touchtracer/'),

Then run the following command:

pyinstaller/pyinstaller.py touchtracer.spec

Replace touchtracer with your app where appropriate. This will give you a <yourapp>.app in the dist/ folder.

Using Buildozer

pip install git+http://github.com/kivy/buildozer cd /to/where/I/Want/to/package buildozer init


Packaging Kivy applications with the following method must be done inside OS X, 32-bit platforms are no longer supported.

Edit the buildozer.spec and add the details for your app. Dependencies can be added to the requirements= section.

By default the kivy version specified in the requirements is ignored.

If you have a Kivy.app at /Applications/Kivy.app then that is used, for packaging. Otherwise the latest build from kivy.org using Kivy master will be downloaded and used.

If you want to package for python 3.x.x simply download the package named Kivy3.7z from the download section of kivy.org and extract it to Kivy.app in /Applications, then run:

buildozer osx debug

Once the app is packaged, you might want to remove unneeded packages like gstreamer, if you don’t need video support. Same logic applies for other things you do not use, just reduce the package to its minimal state that is needed for the app to run.

As an example we are including the showcase example packaged using this method for both Python 2 (9.xMB) and 3 (15.xMB), you can find the packages here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1WO07-OL50_alFzSXJUajBFdnc .

That’s it. Enjoy!

Buildozer right now uses the Kivy SDK to package your app. If you want to control more details about your app than buildozer currently offers then you can use the SDK directly, as detailed in the section below.

Using the Kivy SDK


Packaging Kivy applications with the following method must be done inside OS X, 32-bit platforms are no longer supported.

Since version 1.9.0, Kivy is released for the OS X platform in a self-contained, portable distribution.

Apps can be packaged and distributed with the Kivy SDK using the method described below, making it easier to include frameworks like SDL2 and GStreamer.

  1. Make sure you have the unmodified Kivy SDK (Kivy.app) from the download page.

  2. Run the following commands:

    > mkdir packaging
    > cd packaging
    packaging> git clone https://github.com/kivy/kivy-sdk-packager
    packaging> cd kivy-sdk-packager/osx
    osx> cp -a /Applications/Kivy.app ./Kivy.App


This step above is important, you have to make sure to preserve the paths and permissions. A command like cp -rf will copy but make the app unusable and lead to error later on.

  1. Now all you need to do is to include your compiled app in the Kivy.app by running the following command:

    osx> ./package-app.sh /path/to/your/<app_folder_name>/

Where <app_folder_name> is the name of your app.

This copies Kivy.app to <app_folder_name>.app and includes a compiled copy of your app into this package.

  1. That’s it, your self-contained package is ready to be deployed! You can now further customize your app as described bellow.

Installing modules

Kivy package on osx uses its own virtual env that is activated when you run your app using kivy command. To install any module you need to install the module like so:

$ kivy -m pip install <modulename>

Where are the modules/files installed?

Inside the portable venv within the app at:


If you install a module that installs a binary for example like kivy-garden That binary will be only available from the venv above, as in after you do:

kivy -m pip install kivy-garden

The garden lib will be only available when you activate this env.

source /Applications/Kivy.app/Contents/Resources/venv/bin/activate garden install mapview deactivate

To install binary files

Just copy the binary to the Kivy.app/Contents/Resources/venv/bin/ directory.

To include other frameworks

Kivy.app comes with SDL2 and Gstreamer frameworks provided. To include frameworks other than the ones provided do the following:

git clone http://github.com/tito/osxrelocator
export PYTHONPATH=~/path/to/osxrelocator
cd Kivy.app
python -m osxrelocator -r . /Library/Frameworks/<Framework_name>.framework/ \

Do not forget to replace <Framework_name> with your framework. This tool osxrelocator essentially changes the path for the libs in the framework such that they are relative to the executable within the .app, making the Framework portable with the .app.

Shrinking the app size

The app has a considerable size right now, however the unneeded parts can be removed from the package.

For example if you don’t use GStreamer, simply remove it from YourApp.app/Contents/Frameworks. Similarly you can remove the examples folder from /Applications/Kivy.app/Contents/Resources/kivy/examples/ or kivy/tools, kivy/docs etc.

This way the package can be made to only include the parts that are needed for your app.

Adjust settings

Icons and other settings of your app can be changed by editing YourApp/Contents/info.plist to suit your needs.

Create a DMG

To make a DMG of your app use the following command:

osx> ./create-osx-dmg.sh YourApp.app

Note the lack of / at the end. This should give you a compressed dmg that will further shrink the size of your distributed app.